Identity thieves steal information about the recently deceased

Identity thieves obtain information about deceased individuals in various ways.

They may watch the obituaries, steal death certificates, or even get the information from Web sites that offer the Social Security Death Index file.

Financial institutions are not immediately made aware that their customer is deceased. According to the Social Security Administration it takes time to transmit the Death Master File to financial industry.

Tips to prevent identity theft of a deceased loved one;

• Shorten the obituary — make sure you don’t include too much identifying information. Thieves will set up new accounts with personal information.

• Protect death certificates — guard this like a birth certificate. When you are finished using it to notify appropriate institutions, keep it in a secure place.

• Notify the credit bureaus — immediately contact the three credit reporting agencies that your loved one is deceased. Request that the credit report is flagged with the note: “Do not issue credit!”

• Notify financial institutions — contact their banks, insurance companies, credit card companies, stock brokers and mortgage companies about the death.

• Share wisely with family members — unfortunately many cases of deceased identity theft are committed by a member of the loved one’s family. It could be a friend who has a costly addiction.

• Finally, stop their junk mail — the Direct Marketing Association created a Deceased Do Not Contact List (DDNC) which all DMA members are required to honor. Log on to: www.the-dma.org for removal.

If you want more information on identity theft prevention or other consumer fraud issues contact AARP ElderWatch at (800) 222-4444, option 2, or www.aarpelderwatch.org. (Courtesy AARP.)

Dash of cinnamon for health

With weather beginning to get colder and the leaves changing color, it’s time to think about all our favorite fall foods we love to eat. With most desserts, such as apple and pumpkin dishes — the spice of choice is cinnamon.

Cinnamon comes from an evergreen tree that grows to about 30-50 feet in height, originating in Sri Lanka and India. Cinnamon has “antimicrobial properties” (used to help preserve food) and kills mosquito larvae (good insect repellent).

However, more recent clinical research has targeted cinnamon’s effects on blood sugar levels.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in June 2007 found when a teaspoon of cinnamon was added to rice pudding, “gastric emptying” was delayed by almost 3 percent and it improved post-meal blood sugar levels.

One gram of cinnamon was used in this study, about equal to a half a teaspoon. Another study (discussed in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association) saw improvements in blood sugar and lipid levels (cholesterol).

Cinnamon has about six calories per teaspoon, 28 mg of calcium and contains 5 percent of your daily value of iron and 20 percent manganese. It also has no sodium or fat. It also contains a little more than one gram of fiber, which could be part of the reason for the delay it may cause in emptying your bowels.

With few calories and added fiber, cinnamon is an excellent choice for spicing up your fall recipes. Next time you reach for dessert this season, add extra cinnamon. Or try adding cinnamon in oatmeal, beverages (cider) or breads, or mix it with fresh apple slices.

Who would have thought a spice would be so nice?

National Dental Hygiene Month

Dental care for seniors involves unique considerations. Seniors are more likely to suffer from a host of oral health issues resulting from the natural aging process, their inability to receive proper oral health care due to financial constraints (no dental insurance) or their inability to provide adequate dental hygiene care for themselves. These factors, combined with the limited dental benefits provided by state aid programs for the aged, blind or disabled, leave many seniors at risk of ignoring tooth decay and tooth infection until there is no alternative but tooth extraction — which is the only dental procedure covered by many state aid programs such as Medicaid or Medicare. The Den offers limited assistance for dental care. One of Pagosa’s local hygienists, Bonnie Thrasher, will speak about dental hygiene on Friday, Oct. 17, at 12:30 p.m. in the senior dining room.

Dental hygiene for seniors:

• Brush, floss and rinse with mouthwash properly to maintain dental hygiene, as instructed by your dentist.

• Look into special toothbrushes to clean hard-to-reach areas of the mouth.

• Know the warning signs that indicate your mouth, teeth or gums may be in jeopardy, including tooth sensitivity, teeth grinding, pain, mouth sores, bumps, swelling, loose teeth, jaw popping or clicking, difficulty quenching thirst, swallowing or chewing (dry mouth syndrome).

• Visit your dentist as often as he or she recommends for regular dental hygiene checkups.

• Maintain dental appliances such as dentures and dental bridges properly.

• Consider seeing your dentist before and after surgery.

• Tell your dentist about any medications that you are taking or changes to medication.

• If brushing and flossing are difficult for you, try to elongate the toothbrush with tongue depressors or something similar, or ask for assistance. You may also try using a soft washcloth or gauze to remove debris from the teeth, rinsing frequently. Use this method until you are able to brush your teeth again. People suffering from arthritis or a similar medical condition that limits manual dexterity can try inserting the back end of a toothbrush into a standard tennis ball for better maneuverability. Your dentist may recommend other such innovations designed to make the practice of oral hygiene simple and effective.

Medicare

Are you baffled by the many decisions you are faced with regarding your Medicare these days? The decisions you need to make as you approach your 65 birthday can be overwhelming. Keeping up with the information you need regarding Part A (hospitalization), Part B (physicians visits) Part C (Medicare Advantage Plans), Part D (prescription drugs) can be a full-time job. Did you know lower income individuals may be entitled to a discount in some areas of the Medicare program?

The State Health Insurance Assistance Program through the State of Colorado Division of Insurance, or SHIP, helps beneficiaries identify and understand programs and plans, including Medicare prescription drug coverage, Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare supplemental insurance policies, Medicare Savings Programs, long-term care insurance and financing, and other public and private health insurance coverage options. SHIP also assists eligible participants in enrolling in these programs and plans, all services are provided free of charge.

Open enrollment for Part D, prescription drug program begins Nov. 15.

All participants previously enrolled in a drug program are strongly encouraged to have their plan rescreened by meeting with a counselor to review plans as many plans do change each year. Make sure you get what’s best for you.

SHIP-trained counselors, as well as Andy Fautheree from Veteran Services and a representative from the Department of Human Services, will be host a presentation on Medicare and “What you need to know” on Thursday, Oct. 16, at 10 a.m. in the South Conference Room of the community center, and again on Tuesday, Oct. 21, at 6:30 p.m. in the dining room of The Den located on the north end of the community center.

Bring your questions and we’ll help you through the tangled web. You can also make an appointment with a counselor for individual counseling by calling 264-2167.

Fall home décor

LaVonne, owner of Home Again, will host a fall home decorating class on Wednesday, Oct. 22, at 12:30 p.m. at the Senior Cultural Center. LaVonne will show you how to bring the fall colors and textures from the out-of-doors into your home, creating a warm feel for the beauty of fall. This class is free, but reservations required by Oct. 21.

State of the economy

Many burning questions, along with a mixed bag of emotions, have come to light during this economic crisis.

We’re here to help you through these trying times by providing a forum on Oct. 28, at 12:30 p.m.

While all the answers might not be provided at the forum, there will be plenty of support.

Bring your questions, frustrations, fears and ideas, and come early to join us for a wonderful Tahitian Chicken lunch. Call 264-2167 for lunch reservations.

Senior programs

Meditation for Healing. On Tuesdays at 1 p.m. Sarah Barbara hosts the weekly Meditation for Healing program and will teach you how to meditate and reap the healing benefits of the practice. This program is free.

Dance for Health. On Wednesdays at 10 a.m. Karma Raley, the dance instructor, enjoys sharing her love of dance and blends basic ballet and modern jazz with yoga awareness to create a full body routine which makes it possible to work out to the degree you want and/or need to. Wear loose comfortable clothing and bring a mat or towel. This program is free.

The Geezers. Are you a Geezer? For stimulating conversation and an opportunity to meet and greet members of the Silver Foxes Den, drop by for coffee on Friday mornings at 9 a.m.

Silver Foxes Den piano. If you love to play the piano, and miss having an audience, we have a very lonely piano at the Silver Foxes Cultural Center just waiting for your fingers to tickle the ivories. Drop by any Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday between 10:30 a.m. and noon and bring the joy of toe-tapping to our local seniors. For more information, call 264-2167.

Archuleta Seniors Inc.

The ASI 2009 election was held at the Silver Foxes Den on Monday, Oct. 6. New officers and directors are: Susi Cochran, president; Bill Bechtold, vice president; Dan Schmeltz, treasurer; Kathy Zilhaver, secretary. Arboles director is Gene Morgan, and the Archuleta directors are (two-year terms) Eddie Bennett, Rick Sautel and Lynnzie Sutton, (one-year terms) Alice Chavez and Doris Whitcomb.

Archuleta County Senior Services is proud to announce the expansion of the Meals on Wheels Program. Beginning some time in November frozen meals can be ordered for once-a-week delivery. Our goal is to reach those that are more isolated in rural parts of the county and unable to participate in our regular route of the Meals on Wheels program. The suggested donation for these meals is $3 each. To find out if you qualify for this program, or for more information, call 264-2167.

Activities

Friday, Oct. 17 — 9 a.m Geezers; 11:15 a.m. Gym Walk; 12:30 p.m. dental hygiene presentation.

Monday, Oct. 20 — 8:45 a.m. Tai Chi; 10 a.m. Tai Chi; 11:15 a.m. Gym Walk; 1 p.m. Canasta and deadline for fall décor registration.

Tuesday, Oct. 21 — 11:15 a.m. Gym Walk; 1 p.m. Meditation for Healing and Sky Ute Casino.

Wednesday, Oct. 22 — 10 a.m. Dance 4 Health; 12:30 p.m. fall home décor.

Thursday, Oct. 23 — Closed.

Friday, Oct. 24 — 9 a.m. Geezers; 11:15 Gym Walk and deadline for Keyah Grande tour and cake decorating class registration.

Menu

Suggested donation $3 for ages 60-plus and kids 12 and under; all others $5. Our meal program is partially funded through the Older Americans Act, United Way, Archuleta County, Town of Pagosa Springs and other contributions and grants. These funds help support the cost of the meal which is approximately $6. Menu subject to change. The salad bar opens at 11:30 a.m. with lunch served at noon.

Friday, Oct. 17 — Crunchy baked fish, whipped potatoes, mixed veggies, pineapple mandarin compote, whole wheat roll.

Monday, Oct. 20 — Chicken a la King, whipped potatoes, apricot halves, whole wheat bread.

Tuesday, Oct. 21 — Salmon patties, brown rice, mixed veggies, orange, raisin nut cup, wheat roll.

Wednesday, Oct. 22 — Beef barley soup, sesame broccoli, apricot/pineapple compote, apple, wheat bread.

Thursday, Oct. 23 — Closed.

Friday, Oct. 24 — Roast pork, mashers and gravy, parslied carrots, sugar free strawberry gelatin, dinner roll.